Comment 32797

By rusty (registered) - website | Posted August 14, 2009 at 08:31:56

Some good points Brandon. It's fair to say the motorist wouldn't expect a bike to appear from her peripheral vision (although by not looking at all she was relying on her peripheral vision only - and luck).

As an experienced motorist I have learned to look for cyclists, and pedestrians everywhere. Motorists should ALWAYS take a defensive driving approach i.e. try to anticipate the sudden and illegal maneuvres of their fellow drivers and cyclists and pedestrians. Because if someone else screws up and they don't spot it, it's likley they'll be the one with blood on their bumper, even if it's not their fault.

I agree that the cyclist should have gone slower. And, per my point above, as a cyclist I always ride defensively as well. This has saved me a few times.

An earlier post made the point that if you ride safely on the road - and obey all the rules - motorists will generally give you a wide berth and respect your space. I have found this to be true. I recently rode from Toronto to Kingston and even on highway 2, (which I was forced to use for long portions when there was no lakeshore route - let's not get into that...) which is a very busy road, I found that cars were giving me a generous berth. I had no incidents at all. But I did ride on the sidewalk for some sections, when it was clear the drivers could not see me propoerly due to the design of the road.

As a case in point over roads versus sidewalks I invite you to zip down Bayview in Toronto sometime. When you see the ghost bike just north of Lawrence you will understand how this father of 4 lost his life. This is not a road to bike on, it's sidewalk or nothing.

And this is what this discussion comes down to. When a road - like Bayview in TO or Main and King in Hamilton - is not designed to accomodate cyclists what should a cyclist do? If there is no other optimal route nearby should he get off an walk, take the bus or ride on the sidewalk? Commuting by bike - the mentality of it - is no different from driving: you want to get from A to B as quickly as possible. If you have to take a couple of shortcuts because of a lack of infrastructure then that's what you'll do. You don't solve this by punishing cyclists, you address the core problem - lack of cycling infrastructure.

As for how to make this happen well, highlighting cycling deaths does not seem to help because all people do is look for someone to blame, 'the cyclist was on the sidewalk' they say, 'it was his fault'

A clear case for a commuting and recreational cycling infrastructure needs to be made and sold, otherwise these incidents are going to continue.

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